Good kids aren’t found on iTunesYou know you’re getting old when you begin a sentence with “The trouble with kids today is ...” Okay, so I’m getting old.
By: Judith Liebaert, Superior Telegram
You know you’re getting old when you begin a sentence with “The trouble with kids today is ...”
Okay, so I’m getting old.
After much observation and experience, I have concluded the trouble with kids, or more to my point, young adults, is great expectations from abridged editions.
They have been raised in a milieu of instant gratification, from instant oatmeal to remote controlled everything. If email isn’t fast enough, they have instant messaging and texting.
Do you want to purchase a new song or book? Download it right now. No sooner do they have a desire than it is fulfilled.
Then, they become parents. Well, some of them have children, and some of those become parents. Some of them think their kids need friends more than they need parents.
These parents read all the books, flock to the hundreds of mommy blogs (web-log for those of us born before computers), and run to doctors and specialists seeking advice, because nothing they do seems to work. Oh, wait, it’s not advice they want, it’s solutions — quick and easy solutions.
All I can say is, “Let me know how that works out.”
Raising children is an investment in the future. You just keep plunking away the instructions, boundaries, rewards and consequences like saving pennies, until some day — far, far in the future — it pays off.
It seems to me that if these parents try something once or twice without getting the expected results, they declare it just doesn’t work. Oh, how they underestimate the persistence of small children, a singular force of nature proving more relentless than the ocean tide and as destructive as a tsunami. Try 100 times for starters. Then take a deep breath, and try again, and again, and ... you get the idea.
I was certainly not a perfect mother. I am, however, at a loss when I hear some of the challenges parents face with today, because I didn’t have these problems.
Recently, one mommy blogger asked the probing question of her readers: “What creative solutions have you found for getting your children to stop resisting bath-time?”
My first thought was I’d wrestle them down, strip them, and throw them in the tub — or throw them in fully clothed if that didn’t work. As a last resort, I might use the garden hose. The hose makes a nice, calm, warm bath seem a better option even to a reluctant child.
Then I remembered that my kids loved their bath time, as do my grandchildren. The problem more than likely originated with this mother. Did she not take the time to bathe her kids every day when they were infants? Or supply the standard laundry basket of tub-toys? Or sit beside the tub for their safety, long enough for them to wrinkle like a prune?
Did she not do these things even when she was so exhausted her eyelids fought to stay opened? Or did she tell herself she was too tired and it would be better just to put the kids right to bed. Better for who?
I did not have fussy eaters — I served nutritious meals they were expected to eat. Fast food, including frozen and convenience, salty and sugary snacks were a treat, not a given. There are appropriate times for such snacks — as a meal substitute is not one of those times.
Oh, and just a note here: If I didn’t want my kids to have it, then I couldn’t have it in front of them — none of this trying to convince them that soda is okay for adults but bad for kids.
Bedtimes were never a fight. I tucked them in, read them a story and said goodnight. They stayed in their rooms because they’d been put back enough times to finally know who was in charge. Nor did I ever bring them in my room if they weren’t feeling well or were frightened. I camped out on the floor in their room. Oh, I forgot. That’s inconveniencing the parent.
My children didn’t often sass me unless they felt like spending a lot of alone time in their room — no TV, no toys, no phone.
I never did their homework for them, and unless they were struggling with a new concept, I hardly ever helped them.
If they failed to turn in an assignment, it was on them, not me. They all graduated right on time.
I didn’t fill out their job applications because my printing was neater.
Somebody said raising children is like getting pecked to death by a chicken. I think there is hidden wisdom in there that perhaps wasn’t intended. When a baby chick starts hatching out of its shell, any attempt to make it easier for the chick will result in disaster.
The very act of peck, peck, pecking its way out is what strengthens the chick to survive and thrive.
A child’s job is to test the waters and push the envelope every chance they get in an effort to gain experience and develop values, responsibility and skills for living outside the nest. A parent’s job is not to make it easy on them, but to set boundaries that will build those muscles for life.
If you’re afraid of your child stomping his or her foot, slamming a bedroom door and shouting for the universe to hear: “I hate you, you’re so mean!” then you’d better love your style of parenting; you’re going to be doing it for a long, long time.
Judith Liebaert was raised in Superior and now lives in rural Douglas County. She blogs online as the Mad Goddess™. Send your comments or story ideas to firstname.lastname@example.org.